housing

The first time residents in Newtown — one of the oldest suburbs in Sydney — heard of a new Westconnex tunnel route under their homes was when a couple of test drill sites were set up in the neighbourhood. They immediately responded with a series of early morning protests at these sites.

Then an article in the November 11 Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Mike Baird Coalition government had decided to bring forward the construction of an eight-lane tunnel to link the M4 and M5 tollways.

Victoria Police has evicted homeless people from empty properties in Bendigo Street, Collingwood, that had been acquired by the previous government for the now-cancelled East West Link.

The government said the homeless people had to be evicted so it could give the houses to homeless people.

Family First Senator Bob Day finally resigned from the Senate on November 1 “effective immediately”, in a major setback for the federal government's plan to revive the controversial, anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Day first announced his intention to resign on October 17, after his housing businesses were placed into liquidation. He then suggested he might stay on until November so he could vote on the ABCC bill and other legislation.

A police action on October 28 evicted occupants of Bendigo Street houses, which had been compulsorily acquired by the former coalition government for the East West Link project that was later scrapped by Labor.

Joel from the Homeless Persons Union of Victoria told Green Left Weekly the eviction was in violation of an agreement with the state government that the houses would be vacated and the keys handed over to assigned occupants of public housing.

The house which was seized was waiting to be occupied by First Nations occupants, he said.

There are 105,000 homeless people in Australia. In NSW and Victoria there has been a 20% increase in the rate of homelessness in the past decade. This shows that homelessness is a structural issue, one that charity is not capable of fixing.

The current homelessness services are incredibly scarce and designed to fail anyone in need of accommodation.

Venezuela is again grabbing headlines in the media, amid allegations of lack of democracy and exaggerated accounts of nonetheless very real economic problems.

Much commentary puts the problems facing the country down to the alleged “failed populism” of Venezuela’s pro-poor Bolivarian Revolution. Last month, the New York Times even compared Donald Trump to Venezuela’s late socialist president Hugo Chavez in an article titled “What Hugo Chavez can teach us about Donald Trump”.

The Huttonham Estate in Preston was one of Victoria’s first public housing estates when it was built in the 1940s.

Once home to 60 families, the houses were demolished five years ago and the land has been untouched and vacant ever since.

Now the Victorian government has revealed plans to build 68 public housing units and an unknown number of privately-owned dwellings on the land.

Housing groups say the land should be used for its intended purpose of housing low-income residents amid skyrocketing property prices in Melbourne.

The federal treasurer’s “solution” to the housing affordability crisis is to get state governments to relax restrictions on housing developers to increase supply.

Scott Morrison told the industry’s peak body, the Urban Development Institute, on October 24 that “housing in Australia, especially in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, is expensive and increasingly unaffordable, but that does not mean it is overvalued.”

How can you have more affordable housing and keep prices up at the same time?

The answer is you can’t do both.

More than 1000 people marched through Circular Quay to The Rocks on September 17 to protest plans by the NSW state government to demolish the iconic Sirius public housing building. The march coincided with the declaration of a Green Ban by the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU).

CFMEU state secretary Brad Parker announced that the union was "officially imposing an interim Green Ban here today" on the site. The ban on any redevelopment of the Sirius means no unionised workforce will be allowed on the site, and pickets will be introduced when any work commences.

I have been made homeless twice in the past fifteen months and I am not the only one.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Census of Housing and Population (2011) revealed there were 26,238 homeless people between the age of 12 and 24. They make up 25% of Australia's homeless population, with women experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault making up the highest proportion of this age category.

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